Are you ready to change and grow?

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”

-Karen Kaiser Clark

 

There are times in each of our lives when we find ourselves falling. We’ll stumble over a crack in the pavement. Maybe we’ll fall down. Perhaps our feet will be swept out from underneath us and as we’re falling we’ll see the beautiful colors of remaining leaves overhead on our way down. We’ll then find our world shift again. As a mysterious chill fills the air, we sense the isolation of Winter upon us. We’ll seek comfort by the fire as the wind howls outside and snow packs cars in. And again. As sprigs of green shoot out from the earth, fighting for a glimpse of light, giving us hope for Spring. And again. As the rapture of Summer brings us warmth and comfort, endless daylight to be kids again. Life is change.

 

The seasons offer us the opportunity to change and grow. For me, this opportunity for major growth always occurs in Fall. This is also where, year after year, I have experienced my biggest fallings (no pun intended). Maybe it’s because I’m still in teacher mode and that is when my calendar year starts. Or maybe it’s because Fall is my favorite time of year. For whatever the reason, THIS is the time of year I am presented with the miraculous opportunity to fight to stay the same or to grow.

 

 

TO GROW OR NOT TO GROW?

To grow or not grow isn’t really the question. Like nature, change will happen. But, it can either happen FOR us or TO us. We get to choose. This was a conclusion I came to recently as I did some deep soul-searching: why is it at this time of year, every year, that I always find myself filled with such resistance but wanting so much more?

 

Four years ago marked the height of my Eating Disorder. I weighed less than 97 pounds. I wanted to change and evolve from the “thin-at-any-cost” mindset but was afraid of getting fat. So I kicked up my workouts. Ate less. Slept more. Resisted change. Thin-at-any-cost.

Two years ago, I had an “interview” with Renfrew Eating Disorder Clinic. I wanted change, but only on my terms. I was presented with only one option: Intensive In-patient Care. Clearly, that wouldn’t fit into my already class-packed workout schedule so I politely thanked them for their time and left. This was not my terms.

Two years ago, shortly after my “interview” with Renfrew, I landed myself in Friends for two days. Clinical Depression and EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). I was “official.” Officially labeled. More lost than ever. I wanted to be free and find happiness but promptly decided that I was not going to find either one of those things on a floor with drug addicts and recovering alcoholics. Even though I reluctantly agreed that something was wrong with my eating habits, I resigned myself to this “not being for me” and signed myself out.

 

Resistance.

 

As humans, we fight off change. Though we desire it on many levels-we want more money, we want to be in a kick-ass relationship, we want a better job, we want to be happy, more physically fit or feel free-we desire change on so many levels but put so much effort into keeping the status quo. Here’s the bottom line: There is no status quo. Even when you think you’re keeping it, you’re not. Life is change. There is only received change or given change. Change happening FOR us or change happening TO us. For example, you may say, “I hate my job but I’m afraid if quit I won’t have any means of income. So, I’m just going to stay where I am.” You’ve made the decision to not create change because of fear, an excuse you gave yourself (and not having a job at all seems like a pretty good excuse, right?). Still, that doesn’t ensure that you won’t experience change. Your company could lay people off. Or, because you weren’t actively looking for something else, you could miss out on a wonderful opportunity. Life is change. And as Clark point out in the opening quote, “Growth is optional.” The only question is….

 

which will YOU choose?

 

 

I AM HERE TO CHANGE AND GROW

I have just started a new intenSati series entitled, I AM Ready this past Sunday at Weston Fitness. The I AM Ready series is about being ready to declare what IT is we want and to live it so that we change and grow into the person we wish to be. As I was going through the series, I found myself experiencing physical resistance, a kind of anxious, uneasy feeling, when saying the affirmation, “I AM here to change and grow.” Wow. Was I really that resistant to change? To growth? To all the things I have been asking the universe for? For all the changes I’ve received?

 

Fall always presents me with miraculous opportunity to fight to stay the same or to grow. However, it wasn’t until this year, with a heightened sense of awareness, that I was able to put this all into perspective. In years past, I had resisted. I consciously knew I was fighting to stay the same. What I didn’t understand at the time was that life is change. As someone who (still) operates with an all-or-nothing mindset, it was hard to understand that change would happen regardless of my choosing. That the only thing I could control was my thoughts, words, attitudes and actions. Not life itself. In retrospect, I experienced change, but it was change that happened TO me, not FOR me. In some ways, I chose to stay where I was in my mindset or my habits; but change was still happening around me and TO me. And, because I chose to stay there, I chose not to grow and have change happen FOR me.

 

Growth is always optional. The beautiful thing about growth is it’s always available to us, even after we’ve resisted it. Despite the fact that I didn’t choose it at the time, I have the opportunity to affirm that “I AM here to change and grow” in every given moment. Even more, my past resistance to growth has afforded me awareness. There is a quote from Pema Chodron that goes,“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” It wasn’t until I found myself falling again, my feet swept out from underneath me that I was able to see the beautiful colors of the remaining leaves on the way down. It wasn’t until my world and my perspective shifted because my AWARENESS shifted that I was able to reach my hand out and take hold of the lesson and G.R.O.W. (Grasp Repeated Opportunities for Wisdom).

 

 

I AM here to change and grow…

When all I want to do is lay in bed and sleep all day because I’m overwhelmed with all the changes around me….

“I AM here to change and GROW.”

 

When I realize a chapter in my life is ending, when I worry I have messed up my son’s life, when I feel guilt rise over signing divorce papers….

“I AM here to change and GROW.”

 

When I take a day or two off from working out and my old mindset ramps up with “You’re going to get fat. You’re so lazy. What’s wrong with you?!”….

“I AM here to change and GROW.”

 

When I’m afraid to start a new chapter with a girl I love, when I don’t know how to navigate the new-but-not-new-me coming out….

“I AM here to change and GROW.”

 

 

Anytime the anxious feeling rises up and urges me to close off and shut down, I affirm to myself that “I AM here to change and grow.” Sometimes, something as simple as repeating an affirmation or mantra of what we are willing to give so that we can unfold into our best selves, allows us to find our center.

 

And that’s where I AM. Choosing. To reach out my hand. Choosing. To take hold of this miraculous opportunity. Choosing. To G.R.O.W. I don’t have the lesson for you yet. But what I am certain of is that I’ve spent far too many years fighting and resisting.

 

What challenge are you up against? Are you willing to GROW beyond your circumstances? Will you choose to change and G.R.O.W.? How can you CHOOSE to affirm that you can become something much greater than you could have ever dreamed?

 

Know that the minute you reach your hand out and take hold the lesson, the moment you affirm that you are here to change and grow, you will become something much greater than you could ever have dreamed.

 

Life is change….and it’s waiting….

 

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